Bangalore’s most popular theatre space Ranga Shankara, which believes that theatre should be a part of every child’s life, initiated AHA!, their International Theatre for Children Festival in the year 2006. This year’s festival starts from 26 August and will go on until 6 September.
The festival will be thrown open this evening with young actors from the group Theatre Lab performing scenes from Shakespeare and Kalidasa in the foyer and café between 5.30pm and 7.30pm when Lakshapati Rajana Kathe, a play by Spandana will begin in the auditorium. On all days of the festival, be prepared to walk into a foyer that has actors such as Arundhati Nag, Vasundhara Das and B.Jayshree telling stories in one corner, while a musician is strumming a guitar in another. The 11-day festival has an interesting line-up of performances by groups from Australia, Germany, Argentina and three plays from different parts of India.
But if the excitement is not enough to drag you and your kids to the festival, what you definitely need to attend is a workshop by child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Shekar Sheshadri tiltled ‘Why Theatre for Children?’. The workshop will be conducted on Day 2, i.e. 27 August.
Have you had hour long discussions with fellow parents on how you wish your child had her nose buried in a book instead of Facebook? A public forum on 28 August by children for parents on the new needs of children and the possible positives of the Internet and New Media might just take your fears away. Other events for parents and teachers include a symposium on Theatre Pedagogy for Children, a workshop on Participation & Child Rights and a Theatre Training Initiative for Teachers.
The Argentinian troupe Vuelve en Julio will perform a piece called The Pirate Code on 30 August. The play will be performed in code by using the actors’ bodies, sounds and movements. The code which is decoded and understood by the spectator makes the play enjoyable for people of all ages.
The star attraction of the festival is a play for children between 20 months to 3 years. The Great Lalula will be performed in gibberish. The play that will be performed by the Greman group Schnawwl on 1 September is based on Christian Morgenstern’s 100-year-old gibberish or nonsense poem; except it isn’t nonsense to a two-year-old.
Tickets for the plays and performances are available at the Rangashankara and on indiastage.in. You can attend workshops with free passes available at the venue on a first-come-first serve basis.
Shows for schools will be performed in the morning (schools can contact Ranga Shankara at firstname.lastname@example.org for booking), while shows for children and parents are scheduled in the evenings.